It’s commonly accepted that it’s not a good idea to build castles in the air, so the team at Monkey Zone built castles with air inside them instead. At their 40,000-square-foot indoor playground, they supervise tots expending energy as they ricochet off the walls of the Dora the Explorer inflatable and other air-filled fun houses. Good for kids aged 1–10, the Toddler Town bouncy house lets little ones roll about as bigger kids race invisible tractors at the barnyard blow-up. In the game room, kids delve further into their imaginations while playing arcade and crane games and sip soft drinks from the snack bar. Monkey Zone also hosts birthday parties with pizza, pop, and play for up to 50 guests in their fanciful space featuring jungle, circus, and aquatic murals.
The roar of engines bounces off 20-foot ceilings as go-karts zip by at up to 42 miles per hour. The track winds through the 138,000-square-foot space as up to 14 racers compete in eight-minute sessions, their lap times recorded on projection screens for spectators to keep track of or use for their next lottery ticket. At Melrose Park Indoor Grand Prix, drivers first undergo a 15-minute safety briefing before racing, and afterward, go home with a boast-worthy printout of their lap times. Each of the facility's 37 single-seater carts is powered by eco-friendly propane gas and goes through regular rigorous testing to prevent malfunction or acquisition of an English accent.
Today's side deal gets you trackside seats, an official program, all-you-can-eat dinner, and heart-racing harness-racing with real live horses at Maywood Park Racetrack for $15 (a $30 value). The racing starts at 7:20 p.m. on December 4, but the delicious eats and premature boasts get started at 6:30 p.m. Your Groupon includes trackside seats in the enclosed and heated Winner's Circle Dining Room, free valet parking, and a live race program.
Say you're bored with dashing frantically through the same old battle zone as the sounds of war drum around you. In that case, it's time to head to Red Star Combat, where no two games ever have to be alike. First, players can choose from eight settings for their laser weapons, so they can simulate firing a rifle or a battle cannon depending on the situation. Then there's the 30,000-square-foot field itself: stacks of tires, empty barrels, and even the walls are all moveable, so the space can be reconfigured regularly. Between games, players can kick back at the onsite bar, Base PX, for a bottle of beer and some snacks while lesser, non-laser-enhanced sports play on the big-screen TVs.
It's safe to say that Frank Lloyd Wright is a household name, partly because he put his name on so many houses. The sites overseen by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust receive nearly 150,000 visitors a year?tangible proof that the visionary's impact on architecture, design, and culture remains alive and well. To ensure that legacy continues, the Chicago-based nonprofit runs tours at several of Wright's buildings and hosts various educational programs.
Home and Studio: Unity Temple. Robie House. The Rookery Light Court remodeling. All classic pieces of Modern architecture, and all designed inside the studio at 951 Chicago Avenue in Oak Park. From 1889 until 1909, Frank Lloyd Wright worked out of this residential space, eventually expanding the home to include a proper studio as demand for his services grew. Now an architectural destination in its own right, the Home and Studio welcomes guests seeking a look into the mind (and working conditions) of America's most famed architect. On tours, trained interpreters guide visitors through the space, sharing anecdotes and insights into Wright's work and home life.
Frederick C. Robie House: The crown jewel of Hyde Park's residential architecture, the Frederick C. Robie House was designed by Wright for the up-and-coming industrialist of the same name between 1908 and 1910. Widely hailed as one of the finest examples of the Prairie School of architectural design, the house has earned its share of accolades over the years, including a spot on the very first National Register of Historic Places in 1966. During tour, architectural experts guide groups through each of the house's significant features, from the cantilevered roof and prevalence of horizontal lines to the striking leaded glass windows that give the house its inner light. Tours also cover recent restoration efforts, giving guests an inside look at what it takes to preserve a historic home.